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Source: Human Rights Council
27 March 2008
UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATES ON DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA,
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES AND SALE OF CHILDREN

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Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON 27 March 2008



Texts also Adopted on Defamation of Religions, Right of Palestinian People
to Self-Determination, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Right to Food


The Human Rights Council this afternoon decided to extend for three years the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, the Working Group on enforced and involuntary disappearances, and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. It also decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for one year. The Council did not renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


The Council also adopted texts on the human rights of persons with disabilities; on human rights and arbitrary detention of nationality; on the role of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights; on the right to food; on the situation of human rights in Sudan; on the right of Palestinian people to self-determination; on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan; and on combating defamation of religions.


Of the thirteen resolutions adopted this afternoon, four were adopted by a vote and nine by consensus without a vote.


The resolution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, in which the Council also requested the Special Rapporteur to promote the effective and comprehensive implementation of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, was adopted without a vote.


The resolution extending the mandate of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, in which the Council encouraged the Working Group to promote communication between families of disappeared persons and the Governments concerned, with a view to ensuring that cases were investigated, was adopted without a vote.


The resolution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which also requested the Special Rapporteur to continue, through continuous and constructive dialogue, the analysis of the root causes of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, addressing all the contributing factors, especially the demand factor, was adopted without a vote.


The resolution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in which the Council urged the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to respond favourably to his requests to visit the country and to provide him with all necessary information to enable him to fulfil his mandate, was adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 7 against and 18 abstentions.


The resolution on technical cooperation and advisory services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which did not renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, welcomed the cooperation of the country with the thematic Special Procedures of the Council and its invitations to a number of them, with a view to obtaining tangible improvements on the ground.
The resolution on the situation of human rights in Sudan urged the Government to continue cooperating fully with the Special Rapporteur and to respond favourably to her requests to visit all parts of Sudan and to provide her with all necessary information so as to enable her to fulfil her mandate even more effectively. It also expressed the council's deep concern at the seriousness of the ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in some parts of Darfur.


With regard to the other decisions taken this afternoon, the Council adopted the resolution on the role of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights by a vote of 41 in favour, none against and 6 abstentions. The resolution on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan was adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against and no abstentions. The resolution on combating defamation of religions was also adopted by a vote of 21 in favour, 10 against and 14 abstentions.


The resolutions on the human rights of persons with disabilities; on human rights and arbitrary detention of nationality; the right to food; the situation of human rights in Sudan; and the right of Palestinian people to self-determination were adopted without a vote.


Speaking as concerned countries were the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Sudan, Israel, Palestine and Syria.


Speaking to introduce the resolutions, or in general comments or explanations of the vote before the vote were Norway, Russian Federation, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan in a national capacity, Pakistan on behalf of the organization of the Islamic Conference, Egypt in a national capacity, Egypt on behalf of the African Group, China, New Zealand, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Poland, Cuba, Sri Lanka, France, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, Slovenia on behalf of the European Union, Japan, Canada, Indonesia, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.


When the Human Rights Council resumes its work at 11 a.m. on Friday, 28 March, it will continue to take action on draft resolutions and decisions tabled during the current session. The Council will conclude its seventh regular session on Friday.


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Resolutions on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories


Resolution on Right of Palestinian People to Self-Determination


In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.3) on the
Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, adopted as orally amended without a vote, the Council reaffirms the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and to establish a sovereign, independent, contiguous and viable State; also reaffirms its support for the solution of two States living side by side in peace and security, Palestine and Israel; stresses the need for respect for and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; urges all Member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination; and decides to continue the consideration of this question at its session of March 2009.

MARGHOOB SALEEM BUTT (
Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the African Group which are members of the Council, introducing the draft resolution, said that it focused on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, as provided by article 1 of the United Nations Charter. This was one of the most basic rights and was fundamental for all other human rights. The resolution reaffirmed the right of Palestinians to live in freedom and dignity and to establish an independent State. The resolution contained nothing more than stated facts, already recognised by the international community. It was hoped that the resolution would be adopted in consensus.

ITZHAK LEVANON (
Israel), speaking as a concerned country, said this topic had always been presented as a narrow focus using subjective language. Israel did not oppose the right to self-determination, but rather believed this should be extended to all. Had the resolution focused on the right to all people of self-determination, Israel could have co-sponsored it. However, this was another politicized text which failed to mention key factors. Israel's right to self-determination was also compromised. The resolution proposed no constructive solution that would help move the parties to a two-State objective. To ensure the right to self-determination in a Palestinian State, the Palestinian people would be better off to give others exactly what they were asking for themselves.

MOHAMMAD ABU-KOASH (
Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said that there was overwhelming support for the establishment of an independent, sovereign and contiguous Palestinian State. Israel's stubbornness would eventually prove fatal for its own design. Israel, the occupier and aggressive military power, excelled at depicting itself as a threatened State. Given that million of civilians perished during the Second World War including the population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, why was the suffering of Jews given prominence and treated as holier than the holy? Did the Jews have a monopoly on suffering? If Jews had suffered in Europe, why had they been transformed into persecutors of Palestine? Finally, Palestine hoped that the promise to establish the independent, sovereign and contiguous State of Palestine would be fulfilled by the end of the year.

ANDREJ LOGAR (
Slovenia), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union supported the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. All partners should meet their Roadmap obligations. The European Union looked forward to the establishment of a Palestinian State, providing peace and security to its citizens and living side by side in peace with Israel.

Resolution on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory


In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.4) on
Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted as orally revised by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against, and no abstentions, the Council expresses its grave concern at, inter alia, the Israeli so-called E-1 plan aimed at expanding the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim and building the wall around it, thereby further disconnecting occupied East Jerusalem from the northern and southern parts of the West Bank and isolating its Palestinian population; the implications for the final status negotiations of the announcement by Israel that it will retain the major settlement blocks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; and the expansion of Israeli settlements and the construction of new ones on the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Council urges Israel to reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories and to stop immediately the expansion of the existing settlements, including "natural growth" and related activities; and to prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories. The Council also urges the full implementation of the Access and Movement Agreement of 15 November 2005, particularly the urgent reopening of the Rafah and Karni crossings, which are crucial to the passage of foodstuffs and essential supplies, as well as the access of United Nations agencies to and within the Occupied Palestinian Territory; demands that Israel implement the recommendations regarding the settlements made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report to the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/2001/114); calls upon Israel to take and implement serious measures, including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of preventing acts of violence by Israeli settlers; demands that Israel comply fully with its legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice; and urges the parties to give renewed impetus to the peace process in line with the Annapolis Peace Conference and the Paris International Donors' Conference for the Palestinian State and to implement fully the road map endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, with the aim of reaching a comprehensive political settlement which will allow two States, Israel and Palestine, to live in peace and security.


The result of the vote was as follows:


In favour
(46):Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Zambia.

Against
(1):Canada.

Abstention
(0):


MARGHOOB SALEEM BUTT (
Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference members of the Council and introducing resolution L. 4, said that the Palestinian people continued to suffer from indiscriminate use of force. Heavy civilian casualties continued, especially among women and children. Pakistan wished to see the creation of an independent Palestinian State. The actions of the occupying power had impeded the process of creating a two state solution. Eastern Jerusalem and the Occupied Syrian Golan had to be addressed urgently before peace and security could be established in the region. One oral revision was made. Pakistan hoped that after the accommodation of concerns by some countries that this resolution would be adopted by consensus.

ITZHAK LEVANON (
Israel), speaking as a concerned country, said that Israel wondered about the real values of the agreements they had agreed on with their Palestinian partner. The impression was that the Palestinians had a great appetite for resolutions. The question of the settlements would be discussed in a later phase of the negotiations as originally planned. What was the aim of the resolution other than to poison the atmosphere of negotiations? The resolution was said to treat only the question of settlements but it contained all the Palestinian demands. Thus, this resolution had become a platform for old demands that Israel was tired of hearing. How could one ignore certain realities facing them, for example the total dismantling of all settlements in Gaza in 2005? There was currently not a single Israeli settlement in Gaza. The resolution did not recognize the improvements that were made, because those that were proposing the resolution did not want to go into the depth of the problem. There was no mention that Gaza had been taken by force by Hamas. It had been agreed that they would discuss the settlements in a later phase of the discussion. All wished to see the situation change.

MOHAMMAD ABU-KOASH (
Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said that Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine and the Syrian Golan were no normal human settlements. An Israeli colonial settlement was a structural regime consisting of confiscated land, expropriated water resources, subsidized homes and other incentives, apartheid road networks and aggressive armed colonial settlers fomenting hatred of non-Jews. Palestine commended the international reaction to the recent Israeli colonial pronouncements undermining the valuable work and outcome of the Annapolis Conference and the Paris International Donor's Conference for the Palestinian State. What was needed now was a firm action to stop all Israeli colonial activities including in and around occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli occupation would go down in history as a tragic chapter that reminded future generations of the evil that man could do to man.

FAYSAL KHABBAZ HAMOUI (
Syria), speaking as a concerned country, said that Israeli settlements in occupied Arab territories constituted a serious violation of human rights in the region. It was a systematic and very carefully planned aggression. The Israelis had forced the inhabitants of these lands to leave and had deprived them of their most basic human rights. They then expanded by bringing in waves of settlers, tens of thousands of whom had settled permanently. Half a million inhabitants were forced to flee in the Syrian Golan to accommodate this wave of forced immigration. This was a flagrant and systematic violation of article four of the Geneva Convention. The occupied territories were isolated from the outside world. The adoption of this resolution would be a clear message to the occupying power that it had gone to far.

ANDREJ LOGAR (
Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the building of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was considered illegal as per international law. It was an obstacle to peace. The European Union was thus deeply concerned over the construction of new settlements. The Roadmap was clear, all settlement construction should be stopped and old settlements should be dismantled.

MARIUS GRINIUS (
Canada), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, considered the establishment, maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements in territories occupied by Israel since 1967 to be contrary to international law. While Canada supported the right of Israel to defend its citizens and its territory, it opposed unilateral actions such as the Israeli settlements and the barrier which aggravated social and economic conditions and prejudiced the outcome of a just and comprehensive settlement of final status issues and the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian State. Canada was concerned that the resolution did not present an accurate and unbiased assessment of the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and did not refer to Palestinian obligations. Canada considered that the resolution did not contribute to the search towards a peaceful settlement to the conflict. Canada called for a vote and would vote against the resolution.

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